I just don’t get it. You run in a Primary election either as a Democrat or Republican. You file your Declaration of candidacy papers during three days in June. Yes, there is a deadline on the this. But you make sure you are there on time filing your intention to run for office in Little Rhody!
You pick up your nomination papers on the first week of July at the Secretary of State’s office so you can qualify to get on the election ballot. You need 50 registered voters in your district to sign your nomination papers if you are running for State Representative and 100 registered voters to sign if you are running for State Senate.
So you are out in the dead heat of summer going door to door to get signatures. You need to make sure your voters are registered voters in your district so the signatures will not be disqualified.
This is not as easy as it sounds and is a great deal of work. But you are excited to be running, so you are out there going door to door campaigning to get signatures. As a candidate, you have a certain time period to qualify as a candidate. If you do not get the certified required amount of signatures, you are disqualified from the ballot. So if you only get 49 signatures that were legitimate instead of the required 50 for State Representative, you are all done. And this goes for Senator too, where you need 100 registered voter signatures.
If you meet the deadline with the required signatures you are certified to be a candidate in either the Primary election or the General Election.
Alas, you made it on the election ballot and you are thinking how happy you are you made it. You are relieved and ready to run for the office you hope to win. You work very hard all summer by walking your district door to door, attending rallies, fundraisers, neighborhood functions, candidate debates, coffee hours, neighborhood forums and so many activities that come with being the candidate.
Finally the big day comes and you are ready! It’s Primary day and you and your volunteers are excited, tired, anxious and full of hope. You feel you are ready to change the world. You are fully prepared to work all day Primary Election Day. You and your workers are ready, willing and able to work at the polls and have your own system ready on getting the vote out. So much goes into a campaign. So much time hard work and money and in one day it is over. You anxiously await the results on Primary night with your volunteers and family.
The results come in but you are in a tight race leading by only a few votes. Your heart is pounding but you take a deep breath and think ” Okay, bring it on!”. After many recounts and challenges, you are the certified winner of the Primary election.
Hooray! You did it! You won your primary, and will proceed on to the general election with or without an opponent in November.
The scenario I described above is a day in the life of a candidate. All the blood, sweat and tears you shed will never prepare you for what it feels like. The joy, the excitement, the anxiety and the perplexity of it all cannot be described.
Alas, you are the winner of your Primary election! But are you? Are you prepared for the possibility of your opponent or opponents waging write in campaigns because they loss in the election process.
We have a process folks! Is it broken? Are we telling our party winners that they can be challenged again by a losing candidate who had their chance.? There are reasons the write in procedures were initiated into election laws, but is losing a race one if them?
Our two party system needs to be reviewed. The election laws need to be defined and possibly changed to prevent tainting the process. Does anyone have the guts to speak out about this?
Why do we have all these election qualifications and deadlines for primaries if the process means nothing? At some point, one has to ask if this could cost the taxpayers money. If write in candidates were by some way successful in the general election , does the original primary winner have challenges to file? Legal challenges, recounts and election rulings can all cost the taxpayers money. And in the end, why did you bother to run as a Democrat or Republican at all?
It makes no sense, none if it. Some states have election laws that define when write ins are legitimized. It might be time for our state to take a look at these laws. The two party system needs a review.